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We Don’t Understand

In this political year there has been much discussion about how much our elected officials are out of touch with their constituents. I suppose that one could argue that politicians actually are in tune with the electorate. What could not be truer, however, is the public BELIEVES that politicians are out of touch.

I had the same kind of reaction after reading the statements made by AKC Group Realignment Committee Chair, Dr. Tom Davies, here On Best In Show Daily in Susan Chaney’s piece, “AKC Delegates Say ‘No’ to Group Realignment.” Dr. Davies admitted that there were “…many delegates who told him at the meeting that they supported the realignment, but their clubs didn’t.” Nonetheless, Davies and other supporters of realignment intend to pursue the concept, saying, “Again, it just depends on getting the whole process and concept understood by more people.” My daughter is fond of telling me, “You don’t understand.” To which I reply, “I understand. I just don’t agree with you.”

Now, this realignment concept has been kicking around for a few years, and I can’t tell that it has gained any additional support since it was first proposed. I don’t think it’s a matter of all us dumb exhibitors not understanding what it’s all about. I think that there is a real question of why it’s necessary.

As we have noted here in The Back Story, entries are down 16 percent over the last decade, despite the fact that we added 25 breeds during the same period. The average show in 2011 only drew 128 of the 173 recognized AKC breeds. Shows with better representation can accommodate bigger entries in the group rings in the same manner they are accommodated in the breed ring.

As far as accommodating the 42 additional breeds planned, why are we adding 42 new breeds over the next four years when we only added 17 over the last 10? I am reminded of the patient who complained, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this,” to which the doctor replied, “Don’t do that.” Despite the bad joke, I am not advocating we not admit new breeds. I’m advocating we think about the impact on the WHOLE sport before we admit additional breeds. Until AKC identifies and addresses the causes of dropping registrations and show entries, I think we might put secondary issues, like new breeds and group realignment, on the back burner. And that’s today’s Back Story.

Written by

Billy Wheeler has been attending dog shows as a spectator and exhibitor for over 40 years. Billy is the man behind the popular Dog Show Poop. He is a retired management consultant who has advised multiple organizations affiliated with the AKC and the Cat Fanciers Association on business management, long range planning, customer service, and legislative matters. After 25 years of living in the big cities of New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, he now resides in his hometown of Memphis TN with his wife, Brenda, her Toy Poodle and his Cairn, Scottie, & IG. When he is not blogging, Billy can be found in the kitchen cooking, and listening to opera.
  • Collin March 25, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    I agree that many exhibitors, and I assume delegates, aren’t in favor of Group realignment today because they feel that the sport of dogs has more important issues to tackle. In these lean economic times, do clubs that may be barely surviving financially really need the burden of hiring three more Group judges and paying for all those extra ribbons? And if AKC is financially strapped, why take on what would no doubt be a considerable cost to reconfigure the system to accommodate three more Groups and rename some of hte ones we already have? I think Dr. Davies might need to actually listen to some of his constituents. Fanciers just are not getting behind Group realignment.

  • Collin March 25, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    I am just far enough behind on this topic not to have realized that the proposal was for 11 Groups instead of 10! My apology for the error in my comment… and all the more reason not to move ahead with this proposal!

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